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The Last Word

News/Business. (2012)




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Us 18, Adam Lanza 9, Newtown 6, Schwab 4, Connecticut 4, Asperger 3, U.s. 3, Washington 3, Malloy 2, Nra 2, Gaviscon 2, Clint 2, Virginia Tech 2, America 2, Oregon 2, Lipper 2, Lisa 2, Michelle 1, Aleve 1, Josh 1,
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  MSNBC    The Last Word    News/Business.  (2012)  

    December 14, 2012
    10:00 - 11:00pm PST  

statement that the republican address will not be happening this weekend so that "president obama can speak for the nation at this time of mourning." i join the president in condolences and prayers to the victims' loved ones. and on sunday, there will be a prayer vigil at the church. the next preefing briefing will be held tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. stay with us. machine plap. 28 people dead in the latest shooting massacre but there time it's at an elementary school. the first call for help came just after 9:30 a.m. >> the school shooting at an
elementary school in fairfield, connecticut. >> it's small town. holiday lights are up. >> a young man wearing black. >> her entered the school. >> armed with two weapons. >> we are told opened fire killing 20 young children. >> 20 small children and several adults. >> we'll leave no stone unturned. >> this will be one of the worst school shootings in recent u.s. history. >> they had their entire lives ahead of them, birthday, graduation, weddings, kids of their own. we are praying for them. that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories but also in ours. >> good evening.
i'm chris jansing. there was supposed to be a christmas tree sale. instead they are staging on investigation because 20 children and six adults were killed in a horrific act of violence. 20-year-old adam lanza killed his mother, a kindergarten teacher at their home where they both lived. then her drove her car to sandy hook elementary school where she taught and opened fire on the te teachers and students. >> i couldn't process a shooting here in newtown. it was hours later when they started coming out with the numbers and it didn't seem real. it just seemed like this is wrong. there's a lot of information today. you just have to say to yourself, this is not real.
>> reporter: the teenage brother of a sandy hook elementary school student described the terror in his little sister, the experience. >> she was very frightened when she came out. she was crying, all the other students were crying. and the thing she told me is that it really started when she heard gunshots and screams on the intercom, there were screams, the school was on lockdown, they were hiding in a tiny closet, all bundled up. when they left, the troopers, the fbi, told all the children to hold hands and close their eyes until they were outside. so obviously what was in there must have been very gruesome. >> reporter: now, police are still investigating a motive for the massacre, which is now the second deadliest school shooting in u.s. history, after the 2007 mass shooting at virginia tech. a police spokesperson said tonight that medical examiners are still on site and the identities of the victims are still being confirmed.
although the names could be released as early as tomorrow. >> it is a horrific scene, between our mutual experience we have never seen anything like this. it is heartwrenching for us. >> reporter: well, this afternoon, a visibly emotional president obama spoke about the tragedy. >> the majority of those who died today were children. beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old. they had their entire lives ahead of them. birthdays, graduations, weddings. kids of their own.
among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. so our hearts are broken today. >> reporter: well, you can only imagine how this community is feeling tonight. look at these crowds, an overflow crowd for a vigil held here in newtown tonight. and the connecticut governor, dan malloy, addressed the entire community. >> keep in your prayers the children who lost their lives today. keep in your prayers the adults who lost their lives today. understand that a test is just that. that which we rise to, and answer. >> reporter: joining me now is david owens, he is a reporter for connecticut's hartford current newspaper. thank you for joining us, i know you have done extensive reporting today. let's start with the question, everybody is asking why, are there any clues today? >> state police say they have a
lot of theories but they're not ready to talk about them yet. we don't know yet it is the classic profile. a guy wearing black, with a face mask, heavily armed and we're all just wondering why. >> reporter: heavily armed, we were told there were two guns on scene, two more in the car, legally registered to his mother. and then there was a report tonight that they found even more guns in the school. what can you tell us? >> my understanding, there were three weapons, a rifle, a handgun in the car, and two rifles with him in the school. >> reporter: what do we know about the shooter? >> not much, he was twenty years old, initially identified by his brother because he was carrying his brother's id. his name is adam lanza, we're trying to figure out. >> reporter: and his brother did speak to police, because he was taken into custody in hoboken where he lives, and did suggest to police there was a history of
mental health issues. >> that is what we hear, we just don't have confirmation on that yet. >> reporter: and what do we know about nancy lanza? >> the neighbors, we spoke to them. they say she was just a loving person, somebody they really enjoyed. she was a fun person, they're just stunned. >> reporter: there is no way to put into words how a community reacts to something like that. but you know this town, you know the people. as i said you have been spending the day here talking to folks. is there anything that you could even say to try to help us to understand what it is like to be a resident here? >> well, i don't live in newtown. i live in a similar community. and i think what we're seeing around connecticut is -- and around the country is people reacting with shock and horror to what has happened. and then, deciding that they want to try to do something to help. whether that be offer a prayer, attend a vigil. offer a hot meal. we don't know the names of these
people yet. but there is a lot of people in newtown who do. and there is no doubt they have reached out and are comforting to the best of their ability, these people who have suffered this awful, awful loss. >> reporter: you have been doing some great reporting for the current, thank you, so much, for being with us tonight. and joining me now is andrew paly, the father of two sandy hook elementary school students who thankfully were not harmed in this attack. twin boys go to the school. thank you for joining us. good evening. >> thank you. >> reporter: tell us first -- >> i'm sorry -- >> reporter: tell us first how the kids are doing? >> remarkably well for what they went through today. we just got back from friday night services at our congregation, where there was a lot of support from the community there. and they even got up to speak to the crowd to let them know that they're okay. and that everybody else should
be okay. >> reporter: did you have a chance to really talk to them, to sit and talk to them about what they experienced today? and what did they tell you? >> that they were scared. we did have a chance to sit down earlier today. i was lucky that i was working at home. and when i got the call to go get them at the fire house, they -- you know, took the chance to get over there and hug them. and they told me that the first thing that they thought about was each other. that they were hoping that each other were fine, because they're twins and they're in separate classrooms. and they didn't know what was going on with either one until they got to the fire house. each gave me their side of the story what was happening. and remarkably, they are doing extremely well. and you know, they heard shots. they were let out by police officers and their teachers. so you know, those -- they did very well. i'm very proud of them. >> reporter: were any of their friends lost? do they know?
>> yes, obviously -- some of the adults that were killed, they knew very personally. and then, at least a few of the children they knew very well. one of them is a former member of our synagogue. and the other is a very close friend to our synagogue. so with at least two that we know of, that died this morning we knew personally. so the boys are in shock. and scared. >> reporter: and understandably so. and i can't imagine what it is like to be a parent and get that phone call. describe to us, did you get a reverse 911? did somebody call you? and what goes through your mind at that time? >> yeah, there were reverse 911 calls. but it didn't seem like there was a lot of information. and a lot of information was coming in from a lot of different resources. friends, people that i knew that
were close to the situation. and they were -- i got a phone call after a lot of the reverse 911s. and it was from a mom named lisa. i don't know exactly who she is. but thank you, lisa, she called me and let me know that my boys were okay. that they were both at the fire house and that they wanted me to come and get them. so i took the chance to jump in the truck and get to them as soon as possible. and we were all very happy to see each other. >> reporter: i can only imagine. are the kids sleeping now? do you think that they will be able to get some sleep tonight? and have you been offered any services? i know there is counseling available, especially for the children who had to go through this. >> yeah, there -- we have family coming over tomorrow for -- the last day of hanukkah. they're going to be there to support the children. they're making phone calls tomorrow to a lot of their friends just to make sure they're okay. we had friends over today at our
house that were also from the school. and tomorrow, i know, tonight we had friday night services that we had. an outpouring of love and compassion and support from the community there. and then, tomorrow at 11:00, we're going to be having an open prayer service for the community here in newtown. >> reporter: well, we saw the response to some of the services tonight. and i do hope it is helpful to see the outpouring of support from this community. andrew paly, it is so good to know that your sons are okay. and thank you for taking the time to talk with us tonight. >> thank you very much. >> reporter: and this of course is an ongoing investigation with so many questions, just a short time ago i spoke with the spokes people for both the state and local police. here is what they told me. and i'm joined now by lieutenant sinko of the newtown police department, and lieutenant vance
with the connecticut state police. and i want to thank both of you under these difficult circumstances to be with us and for what you're doing today. i have to start with the heartbreak of this, if i can, lieutenant. because i know that you were in that fire house behind me with the governor today when the parents were notified about the children who did not survive. can you tell us a little bit about how they're doing, and can you describe even the emotion of that moment? >> it was a terribly sad situation to have to hear that message delivered to those parents, who had sent their children to school. to be educated for the day and to realize they will not see them again. it was heartbreaking, it was something that you know, we have seen death notifications in the past to see it done, to talk about such little, innocent children. it was heartwrenching, it was terrible. >> reporter: we can only imagine what this is like for you,
lieutenant. this is your community. you live here, i'm sure you know some of these victims. you know these families. how is this community coping? >> they're doing the best they can to stick together, everybody is pitching in together to do what they can. main thing is keeping their families in their thoughts, right now, no words can really satisfy what they have to deal with right now. >> reporter: i know that there is ongoing at the scene the efforts to identify the victims. and to be able -- for the parents to take their children home. and others who were lost there. what is the status of that? >> it is ongoing right now. we -- as you know, we have to be right with that -- the last thing we would want to do is tell a parent -- and give them wrong information. so we're doing everything we can to make sure we have it right. and as soon as we do, we will make those notifications. >> reporter: by all accounts, this was an understandably
chaotic situation. what are the unanswered questions you have, lieutenant, in your investigation? >> well, there were many, as the lieutenant said. we're trying to expedite the identification for the families, to do it as quickly as we can. but even more so we have to peel this entire investigation back, layer by layer, and answer every single question as to why this happened, how it happened. and certainly that will entail us looking into the background of the shooter, and the witnesses that we're going to have to speak to. because we certainly want to paint a picture for everyone, a complete picture, of exactly what occurred there. >> reporter: have you been able to positively identify the victims? >> we have identified ten of them. but there is a process we work with the medical examiner to make sure there is no mistake in the process. and even as we speak, the medical examiner and his team
are at the scene. they will work through the night. they're going to do everything they can to expedite this process and help the families in any way we can. >> reporter: and i had heard a report that the state trooper is assigned to each family who has lost a child in this? >> that is correct, the colonel felt it was important to establish a communication link with these families. so there is no disconnect. they're not afraid to go and change clothes or have a bite to eat. take care of themselves. but we want to make sure if they have any questions at all that we can immediately answer these questions. and if we have any information on scene during the investigation that we can immediately get it to them first, before anyone else has. >> reporter: this is a tight-knit community, there is a teacher who had a son that was shot by the alleged shooter in all of this, is there anything you can tell us to help us understand how or why this
happened today? >> you know, no explanation is going to be good enough. all i can say is that we're going to explore every avenue there is, talk to every witness. >> reporter: going to do our best to find out what happened here. >> reporter: and -- >> right now, all i can think about are the families who have to live with what happened here. and -- they're the only ones i can think about right now. >> reporter: and let me finally ask you about the investigation. i know a lot of different resources were brought to bear here. do you have all the resources you need? and is this going to be a long and involved investigation? >> well, yeah, the state police department is the largest department in the state. and what we've done is we have brought in not just one major crime squads, we brought in two major crime squads. and the detectives to work alongside with the newtown detectives so that we can do the complete picture. we don't just have the scene
inside. we have the scene outside, that is every vehicle has to be looked at and examined. and we have a secondary scene that is away from the school that we'll have to process. so it is going to take several days just to complete the processing part of it. and several weeks to do the investigation that goes along with it. >> reporter: well, our hearts go out to everyone involved in this. and to everyone in the community, i know that you know not just the thoughts from the community, but the international coverage, and i know that from around the world, their thoughts and prayers are with you. thank you, for the work you do. we do appreciate it. and coming up, we'll have more reaction from the scene, and details. and later, the emotional reaction from the president. >> their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early. and there are no words that will ease their pain. card hassles?
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the first vigil services were held in newtown, connecticut. we'll have that next. this is an msnbc special report. you know how painful heartburn can be. for fast, long lasting relief, use doctor recommended gaviscon®. only gaviscon® forms a protective barrier that helps block stomach acid from splashing up- relieving the pain quickly. try fast, long lasting gaviscon®.
her phone just went off because it was time to take her little boy for a cub scout meeting. and she realized, you know, i can't take them now. so those kind of moments are really, really hard on these parents. that was awful, i mean, these are people a week before christmas that just lost their joy. i mean, how do you live with that? >> reporter: that is a question so many people are asking tonight. and hundreds of people gathered together at local churches here,
vigils were held tonight to pray for the victims and their families. nbc's kate snow was at one of the vigils tonight. outside of st. rose church. and it looks like the turnout was just tremendous, this community coming together, kate. >> reporter: it was overwhelming, chris. they can seat 900 people in the church. and i can tell you there were hundreds, hundreds, maybe even a thousand people outside of the church. crammed outside, looking in the windows. i heard one group singing "silent night," which was quite moving. they all said they wanted to go together. this is a tight knit community, they all know one another, and just wanted to be in a place where they could be together, mourn together, and pray together. >> reporter: kate snow, thank you so much for that update. let me bring in now the mayor of neighboring danbury,
connecticut, roughly ten miles from newtown, where today's massacre happened. mr. mayor, thank you for joining us. i know there is no mayor here in this community. i know that you feel like this is part of your greater community. what were your thoughts when you heard what happened here? >> well, obviously, it is just stunning, shocking, whatever adjective you can come up with, chris. and you're absolutely right, i have to hand it to the first mayor here, she is outstanding, and doing what she should be doing, being with the families who lost loved ones today. but it is the most shocking thing i certainly have ever experienced here in western connecticut. our hearts reach out to family and friends, everybody who has been touched by this horrible, horrible act of absolute evil. >> reporter: and there are two questions that always get asked in the immediate aftermath. the first, of course, is why. and we just talked to police who
are trying to figure that out. but the second is, can we figure out a way to stop this from happening again. and as a politician who feels this very closely, do you feel there is an answer to that? >> well, i don't know if we'll ever know why. god has plans for all of us. and only he knows why things happen to these wonderful people. and in terms of the larger, broader question, i think the debate and questions will happen over the next weeks and months and years even, if you will. yeah, i think there is a way we can definitely limit these kind of events. and i think you have to combine good solid gun control legislation. solid legislation that doesn't necessarily take away somebody's rights to own guns. but certainly, a way to regulate the weapons. that will require compromise on each side. and we'll have to learn about mental health, and how we handle mental health. there are a lot of people right
now that are struggling with mental health issues that evolve into these horrible situations where they take matters into their own hands and hurting people. and we have not as a country, and as a nation done a good job with the folks who desperately need care. and tragically, these are outcomes that we see. >> reporter: and we have heard these kind of questions being raised, sadly in the shootings that have happened over recent years. and there is a lot of conversation. but we don't see a lot of change. and i wonder, because i have been asked this question, even by members of this own community. do you think that because this was so shocking, because a gunman went into an elementary school that 20 of the victims are tiny little kids, five, six, seven years old, do you think that that will make a difference? will it spur people to do something this time? >> tragically, it shouldn't have to take an event like this to make a difference and to spur that kind of conversation. but look, i would say this.
that this is sort of symptom attic of the problem we have in washington, where people are so polarized, where nobody can find common ground on anything. and the reality is we need to have common ground, and have a system that highly regulates these weapons. but also, people who lawfully, legitimately want to use the weapons, use them. but also, not get them into the hands of people that are clearly incapable of using them. obviously, when you have an instance like this today that person had no business being anywhere close to a weapon and probably should have been that institutionalized, because nobody sane creates that type of situation we saw today. i think it is time to work together and compromise all the big issues of the day. and recognize it can't be either way.
and we have to find common ground. and yeah, i think it can happen. >> thank you so much for being our guest tonight. and coming up, the latest from newtown, connecticut, as this msnbc special report continues. i had enough of feeling embarrassed about my skin. [ designer ] enough of just covering up my moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. i decided enough is enough. ♪ [ spa lady ] i started enbrel. it's clinically proven to provide clearer skin. [ rv guy ] enbrel may not work for everyone -- and may not clear you completely, but for many, it gets skin clearer fast, within 2 months, and keeps it clearer up to 9 months. [ male announcer ] because enbrel®, etanercept, suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal, events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, and nervous system and blood disorders have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. don't start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b,
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ryan lanza left the station a little while. dpar investigators are piecing together what happened. pete williams has the latest about the gunman. >> reporter: this has been a day of confusion about who was involved and what happened. it is becoming a bit clearer. we are learning more about where the guns came from. investigators say the man who committed one of the worst mass shootings in u.s. history was just 20 years old. the son of a kindergarten teacher at the school he attacked. he's identified as adam lanza. when he entered the school he was dressed in black carrying two handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. >> the minute our officer was there they realized what a horrific scene we had there. >> reporter: the gunman was carrying his brother's
identification. when police tracked the brother down in new jersey about 80 miles away they learned gunman was adam lanza said by his brother to have mental health issues. police discover another shooting victim. a woman at the house where adam lanza was living. >> the perpetrator of the crime is dead as is an individual who the perpetrator lived with. >> reporter: tonight authorities say they believe the victim at the house was adam lanza's mother and she was shot at home not at the school though that's still under investigation. a former fbi profiler says that's a disturbing and revealing fact. >> the children was part of her and she was part of them. by going and killing the children she was also killing another part of his mother. >> reporter: police are working to trace when and how adam lanza obtained the guns. they are looking for anything in
his background that would lead him to carry out this mass shooting. the guns that were used in today's shooting were registered to adam lanza's mother and were legally purchased. the children were all shot at close range. adam's brother was questioned for hours tonight and released later tonight. they believe adam lanza acted on his own. >> i want to bring in james fox. and james, let me start with you, the question everyone has is why. does any information we're learning about the gunman give you any real clues. >> well, it does, this is somebody who planned very well what he was going to do. the weapons, what he was going to bring, what he would wear. not somebody who just snaps and has all of this ammunition in
his car. this was an act of revenge, now, that may have been targeted to his mother, but also, by proxy. after all, he allegedly killed his mother, and all of those young children whom she loved. but the location of the crime was not random. >> reporter: clint, you and i were talking earlier. and it is just so hard to even fathom that somebody would go into an elementary school. we're talking about five and six and seven-year-old kids. i mean, what do you make of this? what does this tell you? >> well, and you know, dr. fox has done a lot of these studies. and so many times we look at these shooters and we break them down into two categories. either those that are mentally ill. or those who are sociopaths,
anti-social personalities. and it seems a number of these we have seen recently have been on that mental ill side. it was said that the shooter was described as "somewhat autistic," indications that he suffers from asperger syndrome. that he has mental challenges that apparently he and his family were aware of. so as this planning continues there is this aspect of mental illness that allowed him to do two of the most unthinkable things we have. the biggest taboos would be killing your mother and killing defenseless children. this guy crossed the line on both of them today. >> reporter: and we have that video of his brother, who was leaving police headquarters today after apparently some extensive questioning.
and i'm wondering, james, what questions would you have for him? >> well, obviously, we need to do the psychological autopsy of his brother. but one thing i do want to point out, though he may indeed have had psychological issues, perhaps profound ones, these are not signs that we can identify in advance that would be telltale that somebody is going to go and rampage, these crimes, fortunately, are extremely rare, unpredictable. and even though there are warning signs, those signs are only crystal clear in the aftermath. we are trying to tighten up who can get guns and doing better background checks. the problem is, mass murderers rarely fail a background check, they were able to buy them legally. or if they can't buy them legally, of course, they can get them from the mother or steal them from a steal, such as in oregon earlier this week. >> reporter: and of course, as
we come to understand, clint, in some context, exactly, what the motivation might have been. and you can talk to people who may have been through any of these shootings. they do want to know why. but it doesn't change anything or bring their loved ones back. but is there any information that we ought to know from this that will help us going forward? >> well, there is no test that i know of, chris, that we can give to somebody or differentiate, the next person who will be the next mass murderer. psychologists believe we can identify children who are at risk. and we can do that many times in grade school. i mean, i have always been an advocate of having counselors, mental health professionals, to help children when they're in grade schools to start the develop conflict resolution skills that are not built on violence like they see on television. >> but can i add to this very importantly, when you hear a report that this man may have
had asperger syndrome. i worry about all the people who now try to label the asperger syndrome folks as if they're dangerous. which is just not the case. no matter what we find here it is just not possible to identify and predict, and i would hate to paint a broad brush of violence proneness for others who have psychological issues in their life. >> reporter: it is a complex issue and one we'll talk about in the coming days. thank you to both of you. and up next, the president's emotional statement. r the holid. that's double miles you can actually use... sadly, their brother's white christmas just got "blacked out." [ brother ] but it's the family party! really jingles your bells, doesn't it? my gift to you! the capital one venture card! for any flight, any time! that's double miles you can actually use!
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which isn't rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade. we are just getting reports by the associated press that somebody's quick thinking in the school may have saved lives. that somebody thought to turn on the intercom after the shootings that alerted classrooms to take immediate action.
we'll have much more about this and how the nation's conversation immediately turned to guns after the shooting. that is coming up. new trident layers juicy berry + tangy tangerine
is a thrilling, dual-flavored ride to mouth fun-town. but it's not like everyone is going to break into a karaoke jam session. ♪ this will literally probably never happen. homeland security adviser john brennan first notified president obama of the tragedy here at 10:30 this morning in the oval office.
3:15 this afternoon, he had been thoroughly briefed. and he prepared his remarks in the briefing room. named after the shooting attack on president reagan. nbc also learned that the original remarks were longer than the emotional statement that the president, a father of two young girls, of course, eventually delivered. >> this afternoon, i spoke with governor malloy, and fbi director morell. i offered governor malloy my condolences and made it clear he will have every single resource he needs to investigate this terrible crime, care for the victims, counsel their families. we have endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. and each time i learn the news, i react not as a president but
as anybody else would, as a parent. and that was especially true today. i know there is not a parent in the america who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that i do. the majority of those who died today were children. beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old. they had their entire lives ahead of them. birthdays, graduations. weddings, kids of their own. among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.
so our hearts are broken today. for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children. and for the families of the adults who were lost. our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors, as well. for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early. and there are no words that will ease their pain. as a country, we have been through this too many times. whether it is an elementary school in newtown, or a shopping mall in oregon. or a temple in wisconsin. or a movie theater in aurora, or a street corner in chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods. and these children are our children. and we're going to have to come together and take meaningful
action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics. this evening, michelle and i will do what i know every parent in america will do. which is hug our children a little tighter. and we'll tell them that we love them. and we'll remind our children how deeply we love one another. but there are families in connecticut who cannot do that tonight. and they need all of us right now. and in the days to come, the community needs us to be at our best as americans. and i will do everything in my power as president to help, because while nothing can feel the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need. to remind them that we are there for them. that we are praying for them. that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories, but also in
ours. may god bless the memory of the victims. and heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds. ♪
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there is i'm sure -- will be, rather, a day for discussion of the usual washington policy debates, but i don't think today is that day. >> reporter: that was white house spokesperson jay carney today. and not surprisingly, the talk in the nation turned to guns very quickly. there was a pro-gun control rally today, michael moore was there, other gun control advocates, immediately sending
out a message saying this is the time to talk about gun control. but on the other side you had conservatives, erik erikson, immediately going on the defensive. republican mike huckabee said, we removed god from our schools. should we be so surprised that schools have become a place of carnage. josh horowitz, former director of the coalition to stop gun violence. i want to thank both of you for being with us. i am sure you know that mayor bloomberg has been on the forefront of gun control. he tweeted today that the president needs to send a bill to congress. >> well, there are already bills in place, we need to ban assault weapons again. we need to ban the massacre-style magazines that have up to 100 rounds that are not used to defend anyone.
they're just used to massacre people. we need to close the gun show loophole, so that people cannot get guns without background checks. there are sensible, common sense things you can do that would help to end the gun violence in this country. we are ranked number four in the world in terms of the number of guns we have. the only -- and the violence that we experience, the only countries that have more are south africa, columbia, and thailand. and if people think guns bring safety, we should be the safest country on earth. we have more guns per capita than any country. so it is a time to really try to pass some of these measures. it has been a day of national mourning over the great loss. and we need to return with -- to congress with a national resolve to work in a bipartisan way to
make changes to make it safer for our kindergarten grandchildren, for goodness sakes. >> reporter: you're asking for change at a time when we all have seen and we all know the polarization in washington. we all know the shootings, look at what happened since columbine, virginia tech, 13 at columbine, the immigration center. fort hood, the aurora movie theater. unfortunately, josh, we could go on and on, is there anything that could tell you it could be different this time. from two sides, still so strong in their position could find a way to come together. >> well, i think the american people are ready for action. unfortunately of course i think even before this, the summer, the shooting at the aurora theater and the sikh temple.
it is time for change, and you see that reflected. first of all, the polls are resounding. it showed pretty quickly that 90% of gun owners want -- they believe we should have background checks on all guns. people want this. the other thing that is i think, important, is that people talk about the power of the nra. but when you look at the election results that happened this november, the nra had a terrible season. i mean, my home state of virginia they really spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to knock off tim kaine, who is a big supporter of gun laws. they were not able to do that. they went after tammy baldwin, and of course they went after the president. everybody believes we should have reasonable gun laws. what is standing in the way is the nra leadership. we need to push them aside. it is not difficult. the nra is a paper tiger.
it is time to get this done, the time is now, the day's events just showed what must happen in this country. >> congresswoman, we have talked over the last several months about how there have been shifts on so many issues, many of them social issues, for example, gay marriage. that it does seem as if legislation is sort of catching up with public opinion, is that what is happening here? and is there a way to push it forward from your perspective? >> well, i have to tell you, chris, after one of our colleagues was shot at a town hall, gabrielle giffords, we still could not get the republican leadership to put on the floor measures, bills to end the gun violence. when we go back, i'm sure there will be a flurry of activity and a flurry of speeches and statements and bills and hearings, and actions. and hopefully, the momentum will build that you reach a tipping point where -- whet